What is depression?
We all feel low or down at times, but if your negative emotions last a long time or feel very severe, you may have depression.
Depression is a mood disorder where you feel very down all the time.
Depression often develops alongside anxiety.
It's not the same as manic depression, which is another term for bipolar disorder.
Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness. Although it's hard to feel optimistic when you're depressed, there is lots of support available to help you feel better.
The symptoms of depression
Depression affects different people in different ways. Symptoms can include:
- not wanting to do things that you previously enjoyed
- avoiding friends or social situations
- sleeping more or less than normal
- eating more or less than normal
- feeling irritable, upset, miserable or lonely
- being self-critical
- feeling hopeless
- maybe wanting to self-harm
- feeling tired and not having any energy
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by depression. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.
What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Imogen, 20, shares her tips for coping with SAD on our blog.
"Although seasonal affective disorder is very common, it’s not something you hear talked about enough. It is similar to depression, except it comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, with the symptoms usually being mainly present during the winter. These symptoms include low mood, a lack of energy, a loss of pleasure in activities you would normally enjoy, and feelings of irritability.
"Just know that while it may feel like your feelings are never-ending and things will never get better, they will. Whether this is a new thing for you or you have been struggling for years, things will get better. You are not alone in this I promise you."
What to do about depression
Take the first step
Depression can affect anyone, and you deserve help to feel better. Talk to someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, counsellor or friend.
You should also see your GP. They may offer to refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), an expert or a psychiatrist who can help you.
Speak to your doctor or a trusted adult about how you’re feeling.
Don't be afraid to cry, especially if you're male - it helps to release emotions and you'll feel better afterwards.
Just know that sometimes we want a bad period of life to end rather than life itself.
Try to keep going outside, even if it’s just a short walk, it can really help your mood to lift.
Depression can be treated with therapy, or a combination of both therapy and medication. Exercise can also help relieve symptoms.
The most likely therapy you will be offered is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you manage your thoughts and feelings, although other types of talking therapy are available.
Realise that how your feeling won’t last forever and there’s always something to look forward to.
Get help now
Where to get help
If you're feeling down right now, don't bottle it up and struggle alone. Help is available - here are some services that can support you.
Offers confidential advice and support for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Its helpline service - HOPELINEUK - is available to anybody under the age of 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts, or anybody concerned that a young person could be thinking of suicide.
- Opening times:
- 9am – midnight, 365 days a year
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
- Opening times: